Summer Top 50 - No. 5 Kendell Beckwith

TSD's countdown of the best 50 LSU players for 2015 has reached the top five and a hard-hitting junior linebacker.

Because everyone loves to rank things, and because summer is the best time to argue and debate, TSD is spending the coming days through the end of July rolling out its top 50 LSU football players for the coming season.

Many are seasoned veterans and a select few are new to the roster, but all 50 Tigers figure to make an impact on the gridiron in 2015.

So we hope you enjoy this list, updated once each weekday and compiled by the TSD staff of Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua (who, naturally, had disagreements of their own along the way).

Today, kicking off its final week, the countdown arrives at a major difference maker at No. 5, junior middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith.

PAST PRODUCTION


Beckwith came to campus as one of Louisiana's top prospects in the 2013 signing class. He was a defensive end/linebacker tweener who also played quarterback while doing it all for East Feliciana High School.


2013: 11 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

- As a true freshman Beckwith played in 12 games with no starts, featuring sparingly on defense (as a pass-rushing defensive end) and mainly covering kicks on special teams. His sack and forced fumble came on the same play, a fourth down late in the game versus Florida, helping preserve a 17-6 home win for the Tigers over the Gators.

2014: 77 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries

- Amazingly, it took until the Florida game midseason for Beckwith to move past fifth-year senior D.J Welter into the starting lineup at middle linebacker. He didn't look back, starting the final seven contests of the campaign and finishing second on the team in tackles. Beckwith was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his effort in LSU's win over Ole Miss, notching 11 tackles, one for loss, a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup. The impact he made on LSU's run defense was obvious and immediate.

2015 OUTLOOK


The middle linebacker position is one of the most secure for LSU amongst its 22 available starting jobs. Not only did Beckwith (6-2, 245) take the bull by the horns last season, but his primary backup, 2014 blue-chip recruit Clifton Garrett, transferred to junior college this summer. There will be no one challenging Beckwith for P.T. this fall.



That also makes Beckwith - and his health - of paramount importance in 2015. The only player really left at Mike 'backer after Beckwith is redshirt junior Ronnie Feist. The linebacker corps in general is thin after the starters, which includes seniors Deion Jones and Lamar Louis alongside Beckwith.

Still, lack of proven depth aside, the second line of defense for LSU this season figures to be a strong point. And Beckwith is the ringleader. He's still working to improve his communication skills, but Beckwith's sure tackling and no-nonsense approach did wonders for the Tigers down the stretch in 2014. That's why there's optimism for days surrounding his junior season.

TSD'S TAKE


Without question a healthy Beckwith will lead LSU in tackles in 2015. It says here that he'll finish north of the century mark in total stops, potentially landing upwards of 115-125 tackles over 13 games. That's how lethal No. 52 is when he gets his mitts on you. Beckwith is still making strides in communication and pass-coverage, but new coordinator Kevin Steele knows what he has in the middle - a thumper whose sideline-to-sideline range is undervalued.

It would surprise nobody if Beckwith plays his way into being an early-round draft pick next spring after a stellar third year in purple and gold.





Tiger Blitz Top Stories